Israel to Apple: We'll Stick To Stone Tablets For Now
Israel banned the use of Apple's popular iPad until international wireless standards are supported as part of Apple's distribution plans beyond the United States. In the meantime, the country that first popularized the stone tablet is preventing immigration of iPads bought in the United States, telling travelers they will need to store them at customs or ship them home. The tablets can be picked up - after paying a storage fee - at customs upon departure from Israel.
Nati Schubert, a senior deputy director for the Communications Ministry told AP. “We don’t care where people buy their equipment … but without regulation, you would have chaos.” Schubert explains that without certification the tablets could interfere with other wireless devices approved for sale in the country. Haaretz provided Eden Bar Tal, director of the Communications Ministry, the opportunity to post a lengthy explanation on behalf of the government agency which included this statement: "We are concerned with one thing only: that no wireless technology will trample the wireless connections of other users. If the iPad meets the standards set in Europe, everyone will be able to enjoy them, and we won't be forced to block their entry"
Concurrently this week, Apple announced that availability of the tablet internationally will be delayed at least a month due to heavy demand in the US. Many Israelis who ordered the wifi-only iPads expressed their distress at what they saw as their government's overabundance of caution. "It's annoying that they didn't say anything sooner," Keren Arush told The Jerusalem Post.
It's not entirely clear if Apple's international distribution plans can proceed without resolving the issues that trouble the Israel Communication Ministry, or if Apple's Israeli fans will need to wait even longer to enjoy the popular tablet.